Telstra helps build important infrastructure in Birrilburu Country

Media Release, 06 November 2013

The Martu people from Birriliburu Country in the Carnarvon Ranges have a new ranger camp site thanks to a program from Telstra and the Central Desert Native Title Service, working with the Birriliburu Ranger team.

Fifteen Telstra employees from across Australia, including Group Executive Telstra Retail, Gordon Ballantyne, recently visited Birriliburu Country, to work with Traditional Owners, local Rangers and Track Care WA to build this important infrastructure for the local Martu people.

Mr Ballantyne said the trip was all about supporting local communities and building connections, while giving Telstra’s most committed customer advocacy champions the once-in-a-lifetime chance to help make a difference in this incredible part of Australia.

"This unique experience was about the building project, however more importantly, it was about the cultural connections and learning about ‘caring for country’. The Telstra team built a special bond with the Martu people during our five days camping in this beautiful part of the Central Western Desert,” Mr Ballantyne said.

"We were privileged to have the Martu people share with us their very special place – Katjarra. All participants agreed that this experience was life changing and magical - camping, working and experiencing this extraordinary part of Australia with the Martu people.”

“The ranger camp site – which now has two water tanks, a water tank shed, a couple of picnic tables and barbeques – will help support employment opportunities and intergenerational transfer of stories and knowledge to keep the Birriliburu culture strong,” Mr Ballantyne said.

Traditional Owner, Lena Long thanked the ‘Telstra Mob’ for working together with her people on their country.

"This is really important to Martu people for when Rangers are working on country and when we bring the young ones out to teach them our culture," Ms Long said.

The 15 Telstra employees were chosen as part of a program which recognises people who go above and beyond for their customers.

“Each of the team members on this trip have put in incredible personal efforts to show they really care about our customers and our communities,” Mr Ballantyne said.

“The companionship, teamwork and dedication shown by each member of the team was vital in making sure we completed the ranger camp build in a challenging physical environment.”